Now as much as I love Jamie Oliver and support his Food Revolution, when it comes to cooking, I am very lazy. Not because I can’t cook – I’m actually pretty good (I even taught Man of the House how to cook, although he is actually better than me) – but because since No 1 Son went to uni I can’t actually see the point; I’d rather have a salad or soup or something easy, and if I’m having guests I tend to cheat (yes you know exactly what I mean).
But when the fresh food delivery service HelloFresh asked me if I’d like to try them out I was intrigued. I know lots of friends who have organic veg delivered and the following fortnight end up with with a surplus of organic veg which then goes to rot or the compost or whatever. But this is different. What Hello Fresh does is deliver actual meals to make, from scratch, with recipes (it was co-founded by Patrick Drake whose partnership with Jamie Oliver means there’s a specially created Jamie Oliver recipe once a month too). You can choose different options (Classic, Family or Veggie) according to your tastes and needs. I selected the Classic Box for two people. The idea is there is no waste, at all, which has to be a good thing.
The box arrived on the day it had been ordered and everything was very well packed, with stuff to keep it cold and, um, fresh. I was impressed with the array of herbs and sauces, some of which I’d never actually heard of (the idea is you’re taken on a culinary journey each week, so there are lots of different spices and flavours for you to experience), and the fact that all the packaging was recyclable. All the food was good quality, and the meat and fish comes from local farmers and not supermarkets, which is good news.
The box contained three recipe cards for recipes which have been created by Patrick Drake and the team at HelloFresh and I found them very easy to follow; the only challenge, as I discovered after I’d made the first recipe, is to make sure you have all your ingredients ready to begin with, like a TV chef, because otherwise you’ll be madly chopping and slicing while something is burning (*cough*). Preparation is EVERYTHING.
Now I’ll be honest: some of my efforts were more successful than others, mostly because I’m easily distracted and my chopping and slicing tends to be less than professional. By far my favourite was the Pan Fried Paprika Cod and Fennel Moqueca, which is a Brazilian inspired dish and it was DELICIOUS.
Closely followed by my Chicken Tagine with Apricot and Flaked Almonds, this tasted just like a proper tagine and was yummy.
The only downside…
The recipes use SO MANY PANS. Great if you have a dishwasher, but I don’t. But I guess that’s a small negative. The only other thing I would have liked is fish in both boxes (I trialled HelloFresh for a fortnight) as I’m not a massive red meat eater, although the red meat was certainly lean and tasty.
HelloFresh is a fantastic initiative and I love that it encouraged me to really think about the food I was making and what I’m putting into my body, and that I could adapt the recipes slightly (I like a lot of coriander, for example). It actually made rediscover my love of cooking. It was amazing to taste the different flavours of the dishes and there are certainly some I would want to make again, plus they’re all really healthy, which has to be a good thing. At £25 for a Classic Box for two people (three dishes) it’s also very good value: basically cheaper than three takeaways, plus you can be certain what you’re actually eating, since you made it yourself. I definitely recommend it to anyone who wants to make fresh food from scratch, and thank you to Jamie Oliver for the fabulous recipes (a donation is made to Jamie Oliver’s Food Foundation from every HelloFresh box you buy).